Expecting the Unexpected
Who would have guessed that I would finally find rest in the "city that never sleeps"? Who would have imagined that I would get primo seating to see Placido Domingo at the Met on my last day in rainy New York? Or that I couldn't cry at the 9/11 Memorial, but felt tears of joy at the splashy joyful "American in Paris" on Broadway? Who could possibly entertain a glass of wine for $25 or a simple steak for $45? Yes -- all true -- New York appears to be the city where the unexpected is alive and well, and you need your "don't know mind" with you.
One of the great gifts of this adventure was my arriving at a place of rest in my bed at night, dog tired from all our trekking during the day. Since my insomnia started last fall I have felt plagued by this affliction of no rest, and my brain became ragged and wonky and silly under the influence of sleeping pills. And the second night I was in this vibrating city, midtown Manhattan, I turned off the light without taking my dose, and I slept. Granddaughter Riley was communing with her Kindle close by, the bed was comfortable, the curtains drawn, and the room quiet. And I slept. Less less than a couple of weeks since I swallowed medication, I felt like boasting and shouting in delight as I opened my eyes to a bright new day
I walked and I walked in New York, and my cranky tendonitis softened. How was this? It was cold as hell, and I had no coat, and yet I escorted this young woman through the city and felt excited at the adventure of it all. I was back in a place that I knew, I was with this girl whom I loved and wanted to love me, and we were looking at art, theater, food, and finally opera... How could I not feel happiness?
I think it was always about love. Love of an old hometown, of art, of the memories from when I was Riley's age growing up in New York, and of this young girl on the brink of becoming a woman. And perhaps her love for me... When love is present, we are are safe and comfortable. And when there's safety, we can rest, we can let it all go. In this hysterical and magical city, I could let go. And not work so hard anymore to manage my life.
The memories are still clear, the warm feelings remaining in my heart. I'm glad I live in a less complicated city like San Francisco, but I"m happy to have been a citizen of Manhattan back in the 60's when everyone's life was more innocent. It makes sense to relive, to remember times of hope when we're faced with the kind of dark suffering that surrounds us today. Humans are complicated, ignorant, and greedy, but there is also love which we can see when we slow down and get quiet.
I am grateful and hopeful ... I can sleep and laugh and play and write again.